Disconnected by Divorce
- 2002 23 Oct
I awaited the arrival of the movers to take the belongings of my baby and me from our home to an apartment one-fourth the size.
Separation. Divorce. I felt confused, disconnected. My estranged husbands voice pushed through my foggy thinking. "You know, statistics say..."
I shot him a look as he offered me the platitudes of the statistics of divorce into which we now fell. As if somehow this was supposed to make everything OK. I fit, after all, somewhere.
The hair on my neck stood up and so did I. I lifted my head and straightened my stooped shoulders -- bringing myself up to my full five-foot stature.
"I am not a statistic and neither is my son. We are not numbers. Were people who belong to God. If you want to be a statistic, fine. I dont choose to go there."
Unconsciously, I had taken a small, but firm step toward being connected again. I had pointed myself toward truth.
That was approximately 26 years ago. I suffered obvious losses: relationship, home, finances. And. . .others more subtle: the loss of a dream; self-esteem, security, to name a few. Single parenting had definitely not been my plan.
Fistsful of statistics on divorce in our society -- and, unfortunately, in our churches -- dont offer solutions. Somehow, the divorced are expected to pick up the pieces, heal and get on with their lives. No matter that the dizzying prospects of providing and parenting leave little or no time to deal with tailspin emotions. Its no wonder many seek new relationships before theyre ready.
So what is the answer? I believe that the church holds the key to healing. After all, marriage was not designed by society, but by God. If the covenant relationship breaks, we need to go back to the Designer with the broken pieces.
Its not the way it should be or how we want it to be. But, its a fact of life. Hurting families are not statistics. They have faces. When the church sees that, healing can begin.
Gratefully, our communities offer many avenues of assistance in time of need. But, the church also needs to come alongside to embrace, support and give hope to those whose underpinnings have collapsed and trust has vanished.
The Bible says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." (James 1: 27a, NIV)
Thats our single parents and their children in todays society. By introducing them for the first time to God and his plan for their lives -- or helping them re-establish that relationship -- their paths are made straight.
Years later, in remarriage and blending two families, we experienced the warmth of acceptance or the coolness of judgmentalism -- from society and churches.
But, through it all, faith in God who loves us unconditionally was our key to healing. We knew that Jesus Christ identified with the rejection and loss we had faced, because He too knew rejection and loss. Yet, He offered forgiveness and made all things new.
Several years ago, our pastor introduced my husband and me to the ministry of DivorceCare (www.divorcecare.com). Would we facilitate it in our church? It didnt take long to discover that God was equipping us with tools to help our church minister effectively to the separated and divorced. As a result, healing, purpose and hope have been restored to many who felt labeled and alone. An accompanying ministry, Kids Hope (www.kidshope.org), fosters healing and encourages children of divorce in a life of faith. Week by week, eyes brighten. Smiles emerge. Hopefully, the cycle will be broken.
Divorce is an occurrence, not a definition. One can allow his life to change for the worse because of it and become crippled. Or, can remain the same and never grow. Or, can become a better person -- moving from asking God why to how can I grow and be all you want me to be?
Many churches are joining communities in reaching out to these families. More are needed. God in Christ is the answer -- the Truth that connects us again.
© 2000 Jan Merop "Real Answers" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate.